Painted Desert


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View from Tiponi Point
View from Tawa Point
View from Tiponi Point 2

View from Tiponi Point 3
View from Tawa Point 2
View from Tawa Point 3

View from Tawa Point 4
View from Tawa Point 5
View from Tawa Point 6

View from Kachina Point
View from Kachina Point 2
View from Kachina Point 3

View from Kachina Point 4
View from Kachina Point 5
View from Kachina Point 6

View from Kachina Point 7
View from Kachina Point 8
View from Kachina Point 9


Located in the northern part of the Petrified Forest National Park, is an expanse of badland hills, flat-topped mesas and buttes known as the Painted Desert. The name Painted Desert refers to the rainbow of colorful sedimentary layers exposed in the austere landscape. It is represented by outcroppings of the Late Triassic Period Chinle Formation (about 225 million years old). The variety of hues in the sandstone and mudstone layers of the Chinle Formation is the result of the varying mineral content in the sediments and the rate at which the sediments were laid down. When sediments are deposited slowly, oxides of iron (hematite) and aluminum become concentrated in the soil. These concentrations create the red, orange, and pink colors. During a rapid sediment buildup such as a flooding event, oxygen is removed from the soil forming the blue, gray, and lavender layers.

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